Historic District Neighborhood Association
Release Date: May 12, 2002
Actor / Historian
Appearing at: The
32 Hillside Avenue - Waterbury, Connecticut
Thursday, June 6, 2002
Sponsored by: Hillside Historic District Neighborhood Association
and the Mattatuck Museum of Waterbury
Admission is FREE.
5:30 pm - Mini-Walking Tour of the upper Hillside Historic District
6:30 pm - Peter Judd - Fireside Chat
7:30 pm - Refreshments and Mini-Walking Tour of upper Hillside
An impromptu art and photography
exhibit will accompany the presentation on display throughout the first
floor of the Benedict-Miller Mansion throughout the evening.
Peter Judd was born and raised
in Waterbury in the neighborhood now defined as the Hillside Historic
Title: 'Growing up on Hillside: Freedom in the City'
Peter Judd's great-great grandparents, Luther Chapin and Jane Amelia White, were the first in the family to live on Hillside, having a house on Prospect Street in the 1850s. Luther was a boy with a mechanical bent from Cromwell attracted to Waterbury and its factories where he invented devices for oil lamps had had a factory which made button backs. On another side of the family was Charles Griggs, who was born in Tolland, and also drawn to Waterbury and its factories in the 1840s. It was his grandson, Robert Foote Griggs, who bought the Mitchell House at 54 Hillside in 1912, remodeled it with plans made by his brother, Wilfred E. Griggs, then Waterbury's most prominent architect. Two years later, George E. Judd, born in New Haven, who had come to Waterbury as a teller in the Waterbury National Bank, bought the house at 37 Hillside Avenue, at the bottom of the hill opposite the Benedict house (UConn. Branch). Carol Griggs, who was six when her family moved to 54 Hillside, married Stuart Judd, whose father owned 37 Hillside, at a wedding in the Griggs house in November 1930.
Their first child, Peter, was born in Hartford and came to live on the third floor of 54 Hillside with his family when he was two, and his first memories are of that house. In 1935 the Judd family moved to 111 Buckingham Street to one of the twin brick houses built by John Goss in 1919. It was an easy and safe walk for a child to his grandmother's house at 54 Hillside and the grounds surrounding it, which had splendid sledding in the snowy winters of those days. About five years later the Judd family moved to the twin house at 103 Buckingham and occupied that through the 1940s.
Essentially all of Peter's childhood was spent on Hillside. He attended Driggs School through fourth grade, and Mc Ternan's on Columbia Boulevard thereafter through 8th.
His grandmother, Caroline Haring (White) Griggs occupied her house at 54 Hillside until her death in 1969, and Peter was a frequent visitor. His paternal grandmother, occupied 37 Hillside until her death in 1955, and visits there were part of his childhood experiences.
Peter went away to school and to college (Harvard, not Yale chosen by so many Waterburians), and maintained touch with Hillside through his grandmothers. He served in the U.S. Army, taught history in Northern Nigeria, and for a short time took his father's place at the Mattatuck Manufacturing Company which he sold as a going business in 1963. In later years he spent twenty years at Northeast Utilities in its Corporate and Environmental Planning Department, and following that was Assistant Commissioner, in the Department of Housing Preservation and Development in New York City where he makes his home on Riverside Drive. He has a PhD from Columbia University (1970).
In 1999 he published The Hatch and Brood of Time: Five Phelps Families in the Atlantic World, 1720Ð1880. (Boston: Newbury Street Press), an account of families in his mother's family line which was awarded the Donald Lines Jacobus Prize by the American Society of Genealogists in 2000. He is currently preparing a book which will bring the family story to industrial Waterbury in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century.
The experience of growing up in the bustling and energetic city of Waterbury in the 1930s and 1940s was a formative experience, which he looks back on with pleasure and interest; he looks forward to sharing these memories and observations with today's residents of the neighborhood. .
TO THE NEWSROOM